Starting the Ceremony (Natural Magick)

Starting the Ceremony

(Natural Magick)

 

Light any altar candles. If it is a very simple altar and you are putting directional candles on the actual altar, the southern altar candle will serve as the elemental candle as well, so don’t light this one yet.

If others are present, stand in the center of your visualized or maybe stone-constructed circle and face your guests. Otherwise stand in the center of your visualized circle. Make a short spontaneous call for blessing on all present or on yourself if carrying out the ritual alone. Hold your wand or a pointed quartz crystal in your hand, circling it clockwise as you speak.

In a simple outdoor spell this opening blessing will serve as casting the circle if you picture light beams emanating from your wand to make a light circle round you and your altar space which rises into the sky and sinks down into the ground.

Use your own favorite greeting blessing or adapt one from an old Celtic blessing. You can say something like this:

Circle this place/hillside/garden/woodland/seashore, Mother/Father. Keep harm without, keep peace within. Circle this place, Father/Mother. Bless all who gather here this day.

The ‘all’ will, if you are working alone, include the nature essences and elemental guardians of the four quarters of the circle.

Generally, you will now want to cast a full circle of magickal power round the group, or round yourself and the altar if working alone.

Cast the circle with your wand, crystal point or the index finger of your power hand (the hand you write with). Always do this clockwise, starting in the north or east. This draws earth and sky energy to you.

If you want a more elaborate circle (you need not and can go straight on to opening the four quarters) make a triple circle to empower the magickal one you created.

If you were making these three circles, this would be the point at which you would light the candle of the south and any incense. Pre-heat the charcoal for loose incense as it takes about en minutes: a stick is instant. If you are using a sacred salt and water mix into the ritual or the circle casting, empower the mix now. You can use your wand to stir the salt and water together. For a special ritual, you would set the salt and water dishes on your pentacle.

Make the triple circles with three clockwise circles, one over the other or extending inwards, the first with the sacred salt and water mix (or just salt), the second with incense and the third with the directional candle of the south. If not using the salt water mix, substitute magickal water droplets for the candle to make the third circle. If there are other present, three of you can walk round in a complete circle, one following the other, or make a single triple-empowered circle starting in the northeast.

Put the wand in the south of the altar (some use the east as they regard the wand as an air tool).

If you are inviting the guardians of the directions you should now visit the four quarters moving in a clockwise direction. Greet each one in turn and ask for their appropriate power and protection. Again, start in the north but many practitioners work from the east.

Otherwise you and anyone present can simply face that direction and raise both arms in greeting (palms flat and uppermost). Visualize the elemental forces as they are in nature entering the circle. You would still be greeting the guardians as you face the different directions, just not actually be visiting the four quarters.

You can do elemental greeting even with just a small traveling or outdoor altar by picking up each of the elemental substances in turn and inviting the guardian of the element into your altar and your spell. Reverse the actions at the end of the ritual and thank them.

If you aren’t opening the quarters, light any directional candles now and then add some incense to the charcoal if you didn’t use incense to cast the triple circle.

If using an incense stick light this now from the nearest candle (again if not used for the circle casting).

If you want to, you can now invite the ancestors or a particular one who acts as your guardian spirit by facing the west and calling them. Some people strike the ground with their staff at this point.

Now invite the fey beings into the circle (turning to all four directions as you call them). It is a good idea and practice to do this every time you do an outdoor spell.

Finally, if you want to make your ritual real special, face south, open your arms wide and ask if any deities (you can name them) would bless your ritual.

The Five Stages of Spellcasting: Stage Five Moving to a Conclusion

The Five Stages of Spellcasting: Stage Five Moving to a Conclusion

 

Staging 5: Moving to a conclusion – grounding or internalizing the power

If you would like to incorporate cakes and ale into a spell or ritual, this would be the point at which you would first take the cakes on the dish. When you are working alone, this is a lovely part of a spell or ritual to help to connect you with the love all round you.

Raise the cakes on their plate (one for you and one for the birds if working alone) skywards away from the altar.

Then lower them to waist height in front of you, saying:

“May the abundance of the Mother and the bountifulness of the Father bless and nourish, sustain and protect me/you/us all my/your/our days.”

 

You can, if more than one person is present, choose one to hold the dish and another to bless the cakes by making either a pentagram or a cross over the dish as the words are spoken. You can, of course, do this alone with your power hand.

Put the plate in the center of the altar.

Now take the chalice or goblet in your receptive hand and your wand in your power hand and gently lower the tip of the wand so it almost touches the surface of the wine or juice. Say:

“As male to female, god to goddess, so in this wine/juice is joined power and love, strength and compassion, striving and acceptance.”

 

Return it to the center of the altar.

If more than one person is present, one can bless the cakes and another can bless the wine. The same people are usually chosen to carry out the blessings, but you may prefer to share the duties. Often the wand is held by a female and the cup by a male for the crossing of energies, but two women or men can carry out the ceremony.

You should then take the cakes, scatter a few crumbs on the ground (or in a dish indoors) and say:

“I return the gift to the earth mother in thanks for blessings received. Blessings be.”

 

After the ceremony feed the rest of this cake to the birds.

At this point if there were two people involved, you can offer each other a cake and then pass them round to anyone else present. Each person can say:

“Blessed be.”

 

Or add a blessing before eating.

You should then return the plate to the altar and take the wine, pouring a little on the ground and thanking mother earth again for her blessings. (Pour this offering into a dish if indoors and you can put the crumbs and liquid outside after the ceremony.)

Now drink or offer the drink to the other person who blessed the chalice. He or she will take a sip and offer it to you and to the other person who carried out the blessings, saying:

“Blessings be.”

 

If others are present, pass the cup round so each can take a sip, saying:

“Blessings be.”

 

And perhaps adding a blessing before passing it on.

The Five Stages of Spellcasting: An Alternative Stage 4

The Five Stages of Spellcasting: An Alternative Stage 4

 

 

If you are carrying out a healing spell or one for gentle love or letting go of sorrow, setting off psychic fireworks may seem a bit over the top.

Instead you may choose to infuse a healing herb mix with the power to relieve pain or exhaustion or infuse a dish of crystals so that they can afterwards be burned for peace in four directions. Gently directed power can be used to steer away in a psychic way someone who is making you unhappy.

“In a group celebration you may likewise not want to have everybody jumping up and down (it could certainly scare a baby at a blessing ceremony and a few elderly relatives at a hand fasting). You need instead to use the accumulated power and direct it into sanctity, whether that be the vows of a couple or of godparents. Or you might each make reflective wishes for the year ahead after the shouting of Happy New Year and banging of saucepan lids and blowing of whistles at a turning-of-the-year rite.”

Through the technique is straightforward it is like learning to do a hill start in a car – getting the clutch and accelerator in perfect balance so you can stay ready but motionless for as long as necessary.

When the power in your spell has built up to almost a climax instead of releasing it, hold it for a moment, keeping your movements and your voice steady and then begin to recite the words more slowly and more softly until your words fade through a whisper to silence and make your movements slower and gentler until your feet become still. The incense sticks, your hands or wand will likewise become still.

Point downward with smudge, incense sticks, wand or your hands toward the symbol at a 45-degree angle (slightly away if necessary so no ash falls on the symbol, herbs or crystals).

Push very gently, psychically holding your hands or sticks motionless, using words to make the power and light flow into the symbol. You may detect a rainbow aura or green light round the symbol.

When you feel the power ebbing, stand motionless and silent for a moment and then replace the wand, smudge or incense sticks in their place or holders or put your hands in front of you pointing downwards so any residual power can flow into the symbol or be used to heal the earth.

Leave the incense to burn through and whisper:

“May you be blessed.”

 

In a ritual this would be a good time for everyone to make personal offerings or quietly pass the symbol round and make low soft promises of practical ways you all personally will help to bring peace or work for the good of others. At a midwinter ceremony you would quietly, after the cry “The sun is born again,” light your candles one by one round the circle and make your own perhaps silent resolutions for bringing light back into your life and the world.

The Five Stages of Spellcasting: Stage Four

The Five Stages of Spellcasting: Stage Four

 

Stage 4: Release of Power

This stage will blur and merge naturally into the previous one if you trust yourself.

When the moment is right, raise the incense sticks and hold the upright and above you, calling for the release. Then plunge the incense sticks simultaneously into a bowl of sand. Do the same if you’re using the smudge with a final spiraling above your head (pretend you are using a lasso).

If you are just using your hands or a wand, raise your arms high either side of your head, then swing them down, one behind you and one in front of you to waist height in a slashing movement.

Picture yourself releasing the pressure within the cone and lighting the touch paper on the entire firework display. Picture that one of stars cascading into the night.

End the song with a final shout, the dance with a final clap and a leap. Then call out “The power is free.” The wish is mine’ or “The spell is done,” whatever feels right to express the culmination of the spell.

See spiraling rainbows of light shooting upwards lie rockets or hundreds of white doves, colored balloons or butterflies being released as the same moment into the air.

If working as a group, one person should be responsible for calling “Now’ or the drummer could give a huge band. In practice the synchronized energies will bring the climax into synchronicity. But it really doesn’t matter if some psychic fireworks go off a few seconds after the other, it just prolongs the joyous tensions.

The Five Stages of Spellcasting: Stage Three

The Five Stages of Spellcasting: Stage Three

 

Stage 3: Raising or increasing the power

This is the most active and powerful part of the spell, and involves building up the speed and intensity of the action you started in stage 2.

Raising the power is especially easy out of doors as you connect, especially if barefoot or wearing thin-soled shoes, with the natural spiraling energies or straighter ley flows beneath the earth.

Grass or sand near a river or seashore is also energized by the water flow, especially around the week of the new and full moons. On a safe beach you can dance through the shallows.

There are many ways of raising power, limited only by your imagination. When working alone and in a potent natural setting, perhaps at a power time like sunrise, you will sing, away or move quite without prompting or run along the beach or through long grass round in circles or spirals like a dog let off the leash. Watch children playing for inspiration.

Most effective is a combination of words or sound and movement in such a way that your conscious mind is carried along by the power, like riding a carousel when everything blues except for the music. The purpose of this stage is not only to empower the symbol but also to empower yourself, since you are the vehicle to carry the magickal energies from the thought (mental) and spiritual (astral) planes to actuality (earth). This is the same process used by shamans to trigger their out-of-body or out-of-everyday consciousness.

Enchant the symbol with a pair of lighted incense sticks, one held in each hand, a few centimeters/an inch above the symbol. Move the right one clockwise and the left on anticlockwise. Move them faster and faster and chant faster and faster in order to draw in all four elemental powers.

Increase the speed and intensity so the incense sticks cross and uncross over the symbol. As you move the sticks rhythmically, recite your elemental chant continuously.

Alternatively you can move your wand clockwise in flourishes or a spiral, a smudge stick in your power hand in huge circles allowing it to dictate its own pathway and shapes. You can move the other hand anticlockwise in rhythm if you want.

A very simple chant is:

Air, water, fire earth,

Bring, I ask, this wish to birth.

 

You can continue over and over again at increasing intensity and speed, adding variants or weaving your own simple four- or five-word chants, around the natural surroundings and the elemental associations.

Other spells chant include goddess names, the most popular being Isis, Astarte (Ass tart-ay), Diana, Hecate (Hekart tay), Demeter (Dem eat-er), Kali (Karly) and Innana (In-arn-a).

Isis is the Ancient Egyptian mother Goddess; Astarte is the supreme female divinity of the Phoenicians, Goddess of love and fertility, associate with the moon and all nature; Diana, the Graeco-Roman Goddess of the moon and hunt and queen of the witches; Hecate, the Ancient Greek Crone Goddess of the underworld and waning moon; Demeter, the Ancient Gree Corn mother; Kali, the Hindu creatrix/destroyer Goddess and Innana, the Sumerian fertility Queen of Heaven and Earth Goddess in the Middle East area of modern Iraq. Feel free to substitute your own goddesses/gods.

You could instead move round and round the altar or circle, chanting and clapping, while stepping, stamping or whirling and twirling. Sufi spiritual whirling dancing has been eagerly adopted by the New Age as a way of altering consciousness. Trust your feet to follow the spirals of the Earth energies.

You can add the beat of a hand drum using your hand or a striker or use a tambourine. We can all play these, without training or a natural ear for more formal music. Just let your hands and feet set the beat and if you chant along they all harmonize. The simpler and more repetitive words and actions, the better.

Move and chant until you feel that the power has reached its height, like revving a car with the hand brake on or a plane whose wheels are starting to life off the tarmac.

Through visualization, individuals and groups can create a cone of power with the circle as the base, picturing a mass of stars or swirls of rainbow light collecting a light cone above you. Imagine the cone getting higher and brighter as the apex gets taller and the cone denser with rainbow light. As you swirl you may even see it.

When the psychic power peaks in intensity it is released through the apex as shooting stars. Imagine yourself standing in the middle of a firework display.

The Five Stages of Spellcasting: Stage Two

The Five Stages of Spellcasting: Stage Two

 

You are now ready to begin endowing the symbol and spoken intention of the spell with power. Here you will use words, actions and visualization to build up this power within the physical symbol.

One of the most common methods of empowering the symbol is to pass it round or through the four elements in turn, so that power builds up within it.

Some practitioners start in the east with the incense. It does not matter as long as you are consistent. It depends whether you want to add your stability (north) at the beginning or end. Some prefer to start with stability and to end with the flowing waters of the west.

Begin with the salt in the north and make three clockwise circles of salt round the symbol, moving the circles outwards.

State again the purpose of the spell and then create an earth power chant, which should be spoken three times, visualizing at the same time what seem to be relevant earth powers. Visualize the power of the element in its natural form and then see that power entering you and meeting your own inner elemental power (like two rivers meeting). You can plan your chants in advance or just let them come spontaneously: they don’t have to rhyme. You can speak the chant as you make the circle, or afterwards for each of the four elements.

Next surround the symbol on the dish with three clockwise circles of incense smoke. Create an incense chant as you make the smoke circles over the salt ones. Afterwards you can also write the purpose of the spell in smoke over the symbol if you wish.

Repeat the process for fire with the candle or, if easier, circle the symbol on its dish clockwise over the candle of the south three times. Create a fire chant and again recite it three times.

Finally you are going to fill the symbol with the power of water in the same way. Make sure the water droplets are over the circles of salt and incense smoke (approximately). Again create a simple water power chant to be recited three times as you make the three water circles.

The Five Stages of Spellcasting: Stage One

The Five Stages of Spellcasting: Stage One

 

Stage 1: Formally defining the purpose of the spell.

Take your symbol that should be made of natural material, natural fabric, crystal, beeswax, dough, clay, flowers, herbs, twigs or metals.

Set the symbol in a dish or flat plate in the center of the altar (you can use a pentacle dish is you wish).

Raising the symbol dish in the center of the altar as you face north, name the purpose of the spell and the time scale, for example, “by the time the leaves are on the trees,” “by the next full moon or “within seven days.”

At the same time, define the person for whom you are casting the spell – this could be yourself.

If you wish, you can now, while you are speaking, pass the symbol on its dish slowly in turn over all four elemental substances, beginning in the north or east.

You may now speaking slowly and confidently, ask for any god or goddess or maybe an angelic power that could be helpful.

Put the symbol back in the center. Touch the symbol with your wand or with a crystal point or the outstretching tip of your index finger to make the connection between the symbol and the energies to be raised. Say:

Be filled with powers and blessings that _________(name) may be/ have/ do__________.

In a ritual you would announce the purpose of the gathering and draw everyone together in a initial chant or action during this first stage.

The best time to carry out spells and rituals

The best time to carry out spells and rituals

  

If a need is urgent then you can work at anytime and picture the full moon or rising dawn whose energies you need, even at a different time of the month or at darkest midnight.

Sometimes the nature of the ritual will dictate the timing. For example, a new beginning spell can be launched on any new date; the first day of the month, the first day of the year, any Sunday the first day of the week, the first hour after dawn or at the crescent moon when it first appears in the sky. Best of all is the first hour after dawn on a Sunday, which is ruled by the Sun, and so offers a double dose of power for that new beginning.

Casting a Spell or Setting Up A Ritual

Casting a Spell or Setting Up A Ritual

 

In the same way that every party has the same underlying structure, whether it is a party for child’s birthday, having a few friends round for drinks or a formal dance event to raise fund for the local community, your spell casting will follow the same basic format, whether you are casting a short impromptu spell or setting up a more open-ended ritual.

If you work from a basic magickal format, you can devise anything from a five-minute spell to call a friends’ missing cat home to a full-scale welcoming the spring for a hundred people on a local hillside.

What is more, once you have decided how the different components fir together you can change the order round to suit your needs. There is a huge variation in practice across the witchcraft community. Sometimes even experienced witches follow an order or way of doing things they were taught or read about that doesn’t fit with their own natural rhythm. Even if you are doing it right by the book, your magickal energies won’t be as powerful as if you were following the flow of the occasion. So, for more experienced practitioners, I am describing my practices for solo and group events so that you can re-examine your own structure–and then maybe decide it was right for you all along (Or that you are turning the whole ritual format on it head and creating an entirely new and exciting system).

For newcomers or established witch, coven member or solitary practitioner, once you have internalized a structure that suits you, you can create your own spells and rites, complex or simple, instinctively without needing to check that you are on track.

You will discover that some spells do not use the altar but are focused on the setting and everyday items. In these the structure is compressed but still effective. Don’t feel you have to go through all the stages of altar casting, for a simple spell. You can adapt the suggestions to either working alone or in a group.

Preparations To Do Spellcrafting

Preparations To Do Spellcrafting

(Natural Magick) 

You need to get yourself and the area or altar ready for the spell.

Clear the space you intend to use either psychically or physically. This could involve lighting cleansing incense like pine or lemongrass or having a quick smudge round the room or outdoor area where you will be working. For a more formal ceremony, sweep and asperge the area.

Use a compass to ascertain the four directions or calculate these from known places.

Set up any psychic protection that is required around the area you will be working in. You can concentrate this protection around the edges of what will be your magick circle, whether this is positioned in your mind or symbolized by the candles of the four main archangels or angels of nature. In these positions they could act as the guardians of the four quarters instead of the nature devas.

However, if you have more time available, you may prefer to set up a protective square to act as psychic boundary within which to cast your circle. You could also position your archangels at the edges of your garden or working area, or empower four large marker trees, bushes or stones. You should thank them and bid them farewell once the circle has been uncast.

If you are creating an external physical circle made, for example of branches, stones or shells this is a good time to set it up, with the help of anyone who is sharing the occasion. The standard diameter for this circle is 9 foot, although this can be altered if you are working in a confined space alone or if a number of people are attending and you want to move around.

Set up the basic altar and put everything in its place(for a more formal spell you can dedicate the altar now or at the beginning of the rite).

Basically, a bowl of salt goes in the north, incense goes in the east, a candle in the south and a water bowl in the west.

If you are making a sacred salt and water mix, you will be tipping the salt into the water so remember either to save a little in the bowl for the earth empowerment or have some spare salt in a second small dish at the side of the altar that you can use.

If you are incorporating a cakes and ale part into a longer ceremony or spell (a formal dedication of honey cakes and wine, beer or juice to give thanks to the earth mother and sky father for sustenance and all good things in our lives) set the cakes ready on a plate to the north of the altar. The drink will be put in a goblet or chalice (ceramic, glass or metal) to the west of the altar. Since this won’t be part of everyday spell casting.

As this is natural magick you should aim for organic products, barley wine or beer or organic juice and organic cakes with honey. You may well not have the time to make your own.

If you are having a garden ceremony, you can have a bath beforehand in water to which you have added rose or lavender oil, and put on something comfortable. If you are holding your ceremony on a windy beach, thick sweaters and jeans may be the order of the day. However, you can still cleanse yourself psychically. Anoint your hairline, center of your brow, throat and both wrists with one of your special waters to open your higher chakras or energy centers. Or use an essential oil in lotus, lavender or rose. Mix and match and cut out any stages that don’t fit a particular occasion. For example. You’ll only have the cakes and ale on special occasions and sometimes you’ll want just a simple circle cast while following only the basic spell casting steps.